The onion is one of the most versatile vegetables ever. If it’s raw, it’s a bit spicy, if you bake it, it’s an essential base for zillions of dishes and if you slowly stew it, it tastes sweet. Besides, it’s incredibly healthy.
Lunch dish, serves 4
Start by making the parsley oil. Put a handful of flat leaf parsley (washed and drained) and some sea salt in a food processor and grind it. Add a cup of olive oil in a thin trickle, while letting the engine run, until you have a nice green oil. Filter the parsley oil in a sieve (covered with a coffee-filter or some cheese cloth). Use the round side of a spoon to press the oil through the cloth.
Melt 25 grams of butter for the soup, with a little less than half a cup of olive oil in a wide pan on medium heat. Add 1 big Spanish onion or 4 regular white onions of medium size, coarsely chopped, and 5 cloves. Lower the heat and bake the onion in 10 minutes.
Stir every once in a while and make sure the onion doesn’t discolor. Put 1 teaspoon of sugar on the onions and add the white part of 1 fennel, coarsely chopped, 1 clove of garlic, 2 bay leaves and 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into small dices, and bake all of it for 10 minutes. Turn the heat higher and keep stirring while adding a little over half a cup of white wine and then a little over 3 cups of vegetable stock and (almost) a cup of whipping cream. Turn down the heat as soon as the soup boils, cover it and let it boil softly for 15-20 minutes. Finish the soup by removing the cloves and bay leaves and mashing it with a hand-held blender until it’s completely smooth. Add salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste.
For the onion flowers, preheat the oven to 356 *F. Peel the dry scale of four small red onions carefully, make sure you don’t break the bottom, outer scale and upside of the onion. Put the onion on a cutting board (with the upside down) and cut almost entirely in half (stop cutting at about 1 centimeter from the bottom). Cut the halves in half again and again, stop cutting before you’re at the bottom. Keep doing this, until you have 8 pieces and the bottom of the onion is still whole. Put the onions in a casserole (with the bottoms turned upwards) and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on them. Cover with aluminium foil and grill for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and put back into the oven for 10 minutes, to make the ends of the ‘petals’ crispy.
Serve the soup in low bowls. Decorate with an onion flower and some parsley oil.
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